Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
7 Aug

Slow-Cooked “Heart on Fire” with Creamed Kale

Once organ meats are cooked, they really don’t look that much different than other, more common cuts of meat. In their raw state, however, organs can be a little challenging. For some, the sight of a raw heart on a kitchen countertop doesn’t exactly stimulate the appetite. If you’re tempted to try cooking offal but don’t want too much face time with the raw product, then a Crock-Pot is the way to go.

A slow-cooker is the perfect “out of sight, out of mind” cooking method for organs that need a little tenderizing, like the heart. Christopher Williams’ “Heart on Fire’ recipe (submitted for the Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook Contest) is the perfect recipe for easing into offal. If you can manage to get the heart into a slow-cooker, then you don’t have to think about it for another 6 hours. It will emerge fully cooked and tender, looking not much different than a small roast nestled in a bed of tender vegetables. The scent that fills your kitchen will be rich and aromatic, heavy with an array of spices like cloves, allspice and paprika. The spices Christopher uses aren’t just for aroma, though, they pack a fiery kick that gives this dish its name. Christopher tames the fire by serving the slow-cooked heart on a creamy bed of kale simmered in coconut milk, bringing a cooling element and loads of extra nutrition to this dish.

Christopher uses beef heart that he’s lucky enough to get from a local grass-fed farm; we opted for pork heart that we found at a Hispanic grocery store. Farmers’ markets are another great place to buy offal, if there’s a vendor selling meat from their farm. To find a source near you, websites like and can help locate farmers’ markets, family farms, and sources of grass-fed meat. Whether you choose to cook with beef, pork or lamb heart is up to you; pork tends to have the mildest flavor of the three. Although in a dish called “Heart of Fire” mild isn’t really the point. The spices and coconut milk will add plenty of flavor to enhance the heavy “meaty’ taste of beef and lamb heart, so don’t shy away from either.

This is the last in our series of organ meat recipes. Check back next week for seafood recipes.


(1-2 servings)

  • 1-2 hearts
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 3 chopped celery hearts
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-3 (depending of size) chopped garlic cloves
  • 3 chopped jalapenos (de-seeded to tame the spiciness)
  • 3/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro flakes (or 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro)
  • 1 large bunch of kale, sliced
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk


Cut the heart in half and remove any valves and connective tissue with a sharp knife or kitchen shears.

Put 3/4th or so of the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, jalapenos, coconut flakes and spices in the bottom of the Crock-Pot to make a good base.

Place the heart in the Crock-Pot and cover it with the remaining veggies and spices. Add a cup or so of liquid (broth or water) and cook on low for about 6 hours.

When the heart is cooked, put the kale in a large pan, pour in the coconut milk and sauté until kale reaches desired softness (I like mine a little on the firmer side). Slice the heart into small pieces. Serve over kale.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Your photographer can make anything look tasty

    debbie_downer wrote on August 7th, 2010
  2. Stores that cater to Middle Eastern immigrants will often carry lamb heart.

    Anna wrote on August 7th, 2010
    • There’s an Halal butcher very close to me, and all that wonderful offal is available, from sheep, goats, cattle.

      Esther wrote on August 10th, 2010
  3. I usually cook a heart like a steak and find it pretty tasty and tender this way.

    Great recipe though, the blend of spices looks just right.

    sebastien wrote on August 7th, 2010
  4. That looks extremely appetizing… I am trying beef liver for the first time today. If I like beef liver then I will try the heart next with this recipe… 3 jalapenos is a lot though!!

    Primal Toad wrote on August 7th, 2010
    • liver and heart do not taste anything like each other, at all, nada. Liver tastes like liver, which I think is a good taste. Heart tastes like any muscle meat, which it is. If you happen to not like the taste of liver, try making a pate; there’s a really good recipe for pate in the Primal Cookbook. I bought half a bison and got the heart for free; made a stir fry over wilted leafy green vegetables. FANTASTIC!!!

      Mary Anne wrote on August 12th, 2010
  5. I’ve been debating a fast or slow cook for my buffalo heart – I think I’m going with slow on my new kamado (big green egg) grill. Thanks for the idea with kale/coconunt milk!

    Mike Wootini wrote on August 7th, 2010
  6. I’ve been eating primal, low-carb, call it what you will, for about six months or so now. And while I can say without a doubt that I love it, since I have found this site, I love it more and more every day. I grew up in South Louisiana where I grew up eating organ meat, although I had to give up a lot of Cajun food because most of it involves rice. But you guys put a whole new take on eating organ meat that has been exciting and delicious. Mark, you totally Grok!!!!!

    jerry wrote on August 7th, 2010
  7. my questions is where the heck do you find this stuff…the only thing i can ever find is liver.

    kev wrote on August 8th, 2010
    • Look for a Halal butcher in your area.

      Esther wrote on August 10th, 2010
    • ask for it. You may have to wait a day or two, but ask. If the grocer won’t supply it, look for a good, local butcher shop. Here in the Portland, Oregon area, getting grass-fed is pretty expensive, even for the offal (I guess we could, in part, thank Mark for that-hahahahaha!!!!) But the Halal butcher idea is really good.

      Mary Anne wrote on August 12th, 2010
  8. I have had a pork heart(from a pastured pig)in my freezer for 3 months, been looking for a recipe–this looks delicious! BTW, I am a CF affiliate in Tampa, FL and one of my clients introduced me to your site. One word sums it up–OUTSTANDING! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the various posts. My favorites are the mobility series and your post on dairy. Well, there are too many good ones to narrow it down but thanks so much for the wealth of extremely accurate and enlightening information.

    Paula Jager

    Paula Jager wrote on August 8th, 2010
  9. Bought two grass fed beef hearts today at the local store for 1.29 a pound! Well, hope we like it, ’cause we’re trying this recipe tomorrow.

    Samantha Moore wrote on August 8th, 2010
  10. Mark,

    I absolutely love your recipes. Most of them look and supposedly taste very good.

    But why, why do they all have dozens of ingredients and just too complicated for an average man? :)

    How about such idea for a post: “Top 10 easiest but still very delicious primal dishes that any man can cook in under 5 minutes”? Cause that’s usually exactly as long as we can spend…

    That would be a blast! :)

    Maxim wrote on August 12th, 2010
    • This is a 5-minute recipe (to prep). Think of it this way: Chop some root veggies. Throw them in the slow cooker with some spices. Toss the heart on top. Toss in a few more veggies/spices. Cook for 6 hrs. Serve with a side dish if you want.

      Bob wrote on August 15th, 2010
  11. To anybody in the UK, Tesco sell lamb hearts.

    “remove any valves and connective tissue”

    Okay, valves are easily spotted but which parts are the connective tissue?

    Robert wrote on August 13th, 2010
    • pretty sure you want to remove any white-stuff and leave only red “stuff” (aka regular muscle-meat).

      staci wrote on August 30th, 2013
  12. Wow, thanks for using my recipe, I’m honored :) Hope you guys like it.

    As for where to find this stuff. I found a local farm that does all 100% grass-fed beef, all natural etc. They were just getting rid of most of the organ meats before, so I got him to start saving them and selling them to me. I get heart, oxtail, liver, and tongue. Organ meats are some of my favorite now.

    Squatchy wrote on August 13th, 2010
  13. I cooked Hearts n Fire for a wedding hoedown potluck. The “hearts on fire” were for the bride and groom, of course. Everyone (most everyone) really liked it! Great recipe, and easy to make. Really great way to cook pasture raised beef heart.

    Samantha Moore wrote on August 14th, 2010
  14. I am making this recipe for my GrokFeast! My first time eating or cooking heart. (Second time eating any kind of offal, after liver). I saw that they carry sliced beef heart at my regular grocery store, so I decided to give it a try. Wish me luck!

    Hikialani wrote on September 14th, 2010
  15. Just started this around an hour ago, it’s already smelling really tasty – I can’t wait for five hours time when I get to taste this!

    Michael Wilson wrote on January 5th, 2011
  16. I didn’t have all of the spices (no cilantro, jalapenos) for the heart, but I made it anyway. DELICIOUS!!!

    Louise D. wrote on March 24th, 2011
  17. I picked up a beef heart today and will try this recipe on Sunday. I have to pick up few odds and ends first.

    Stephen wrote on March 31st, 2011
  18. Making this for dinner tonight with 2 grass fed organic beef hearts from my local CSA – they sell this stuff as “pet food” lamb pork and beef livers, hearts and other organs and chicken feet…forget the pets, this is for me!

    Lahoma wrote on April 27th, 2011
  19. So glad to have found this recipe! Our local farmer sells hearts for $3 a pound and I hear heart is very nutritious. Another website said to slow-cook beef heart for 12 hours or it will be tough. Have you had issues with toughness?

    JoJoDiamond wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • My friend brought some in to work that he cubed up, then marinated overnight in a Korean marinade, then grilled, and it was some of the best beef I’ve ever had. Simply delicious. Like calimari, you need to either cook it quickly, or for a long time. In the middle will yield tough, chewy results. He just brought me in two hearts that he got for $1.59/lb from a local farmer. The farmer had basically been tossing them because most people don’t want them. If you do a CSA or beef share, ask the farmer to save you the hearts from other peoples’ cows, as most people don’t want them. Same goes for the marrow bones — my friend got a 20lb bag of them for nothing!

      pocopelo wrote on May 15th, 2012
  20. Made this with grass-fed bison heart. Omitted cilantro, substituted bell peppers for celery heart, and added just a splash of red wine (technically primal or not?) to the broth — AMAZING!

    Kelly wrote on August 11th, 2012
  21. Had a few pig hearts, and this was the best looking recipe I could find. Followed the recipe with everything but the jalepenos. Results: great! Spicy for sure, but not overpowering. The heart meat comes out kind of like dark meat on a chicken drumstick, super tender, not porky or organy at all.

    Brian J wrote on January 30th, 2013
  22. “Add a cup or so of liquid (broth or water) and cook on low for about 6 hours.”

    I definitely missed that part. I looked everywhere in the ingredients and was surprised there was no liquid called for, but went ahead with it anyway. After 6 hours, the hearts were incredibly tough, and there was a ton of liquid in the crock (but none left, it seems, in the hearts). I’ve added some beef broth and am cooking it for 2-4 more hours to see if I can’t get them tender.

    Best to put all the ingredients in the ingredient list, no?

    Jen wrote on February 11th, 2013
  23. Could I request you add weights or at least general SIZES to things like “hearts”? They come in every shape and size, from every animal we eat, and vary wildly.

    staci wrote on August 2nd, 2013
  24. My butcher gets me a huge ox heart every couple of weeks. its dirt cheap and makes three good meals, one hot, and the other two form the base for a luxurious salad with the meat thinly sliced and chilled. I usually pressure cool the heart because i think the result is beautifully tender and renders a great stock to freeze.

    John Clarke-Allmark wrote on August 6th, 2013
  25. Growing up in an Chinese-American household and later becoming Primal, I had many experiences with eating offal. It is one of the few of my native dishes I eat in its true state.

    I’ve given up most of the starchy, malnutritious methods of cooking, but offal is an exception. Heart, liver, stomach, tripe, etc. are still delicious, and cooked with limited amounts of healthy soy sauce, ginger, and proper seasoning is absolutely delicious. Beef stomach is my absolute favorite dish, and for the more adventurous white person I would recommend blood. Yum. Truly primal

    MQ wrote on August 6th, 2013
  26. I do not like beef heart as a roast… I prefer to grind it and make burgers or a meatloaf – yummy… Wondering about the taste? It’s very lean and tastes just like buffalo

    xania wrote on August 7th, 2013
  27. I made this recipe a couple months ago for me and a friend and we LOVED it!
    Neither of had eaten heart before, but being brave we jumped right in and gave it a go. We went with a pork heart and it was even better than we were hoping!
    I have even made coconut creamed kale on its own on a couple of occasions, and it always goes over well. I also like adding banana to it for a touch of extra sweetness!

    Ren wrote on September 3rd, 2013
  28. BIG fan of the coconut milk kale. Yum! Not so much the rest. So…not sure if it was that I decreased the spiciness for my kids (basically halved the spices) or not, but it was chewy, bland, and “not my favorite” (to borrow from my kids). So I decided to redeem the pot. I cut up the meat into small chunks, threw in some curry, turmeric, salt, more cayenne, and coconut milk. Voila! Delicious yellow coconut curry soup.

    Dawn wrote on April 8th, 2014

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